Getting colder again…

The “warm” spell (warmer than the arctic air anyway) is too brief; 30’s and 40’s degree temperature (normal in NYC) for – what? – two days – and now it’s quickly back to the arctic windchill (or the actual arctic temperature; either way, it’s cold).

Speaking of politics, I liked the NY Times article on the Iowa caucus; the description of how it worked really sounded like old style democracy (or, at least, the way my old junior high school social studies teacher used to describe colonial New England town hall). And, I never knew how “political” it can be to hold a caucus in someone’s home – but it’s Iowa for you, I guess. It makes sense that Iowans are leaning toward having the caucus in schools and so forth these days.

Fascinating NY Times article on a federal district judge’s struggle with what he felt was an unjust law. Judge Gerard Lynch of Southern District of NY in Manhattan was not comfortable about sentencing an 18 year old defendant with no prior criminal record for a file-sharing pornography software that he created/advertised/abetted/etc., which included child porn. Apparently, the defendant did not create or made money off the of images; yet he was given a maximum sentence of ten years, as per federal law. The judge tried every way to persuade the US attorney’s office to come to a “different conclusion.” He all but encouraged a jury nullification. In a hearing, he noted that the defendant may have had a lesser sentence had the defendant actually molested a child.

And yet the US attorney’s office noted that there was a duty “‘to enforce the laws enacted by Congress.” Judge Lynch acknowledged this; no doubt since he himself was formerly of the US attorney’s office of Manhattan, he was aware of what enforcing the law meant. Quite an article.’s Dahlia Lithwick discusses the Supreme Zourt’s hearing the oral arguments on Tennessee v. Lane, where Tennesee claims it need not accomodate the disabled by installing accessible ramps or elevators in its courts. The facts by themselves do not look like they’re in Tennesee’s favor – wherein, among other things, paraplegic Lane had to crawl up the stairs to attend to a case where he was a defendant to face misdemeanor charges for driving with a revoked license . Meanwhile, the law is always at issue – the Americans with Disabilities Act and whether it applies to the states, in particular. I’d rather wait and see what the Court will say when the opinion is out; I’m not going to predict based on what happened at oral arguments.

Okay, enough talk about the law and politics (especially politics – always dangerous stuff to talk about). A new episode of “Angel” tomorrow on WB; there’s also a new “Star Trek: Enterprise” on UPN (I’m definitely endorsing “Angel”; reserving judgment on “Star Trek: Enterprise”).

Flashpoint for women’s issues

Very interesting article in the NYT (Dean’s Wife Shuns Politics) about Dr. Steinberg, Howard Dean’s wife, during all his campaign efforts. It seems to me that the writer was drawing attention to how strange it seemed that a wife could be so removed from such an important part of a husband’s life.

Lots of issues abound here.

1. It’s a blow for feminism. Great that a woman can be successful career mom and mother. Does that mean a wife couldn’t also support her husband’s goals. He’s running for the President of the US and is the leading Democratic nominee for crying out loud.
2. Blow against traditionalism. How is it that a woman balancing personal, professional life can not also support her husband’s personal and professional goals? Dr. Steinberg is quoted: “I think a lot of couples are like us, where they have two career-couples, and both careers are very important to the individuals,” Dr. Steinberg, 50, said in an interview this fall. “Each individual has to do what works for her. What works best for me, and what I’m best at, is being a doctor.”

Yes, but the perception is there is no visible support for Dean’s husband’s presidential efforts . How does that play out when you’re asking voters to support Howard Dean but his own wife stays at home? See John Kerry and Terry Heinz. Slate had an article questioning why Heinz wasn’t supporting her husband financially when he was trailing so badly in the polls. Seems like a case of too little too late for them now. Kerry is going down like a Gore, career politician going down and who will never be president.

In today’s age, balancing two careers, family and personal needs is really hard (I think life has gotten a lot more complex than past generations). I think this is an example of the balance being out-of-whack. Dr Steinberg comes across the article as overly self-centered on her own needs. Being a politician and running for office, this she-goes-her-way, I-go-my-way doesn’t fly well. It’s a big sacrifice for everyone and everyone needs to be on the same wagon pulling the same horses.

Latest polls claim that Clark and Dean are neck and neck and both liked by the Dems. We’ll see how it goes. Looks like the Dean express has hit some bumps. Clark is becoming a viable candidate and alternative to Dean who still comes across to me as being too slick and untrustworthy.